Designing Your Year
Depending on the length of your school year, the way I have my curriculum broken down might not work for you. For starters, my year is divided into six units of six weeks per unit. The fall semester contains three units of six weeks segments, as does the Spring semester. We have June, July, and half of August off for Summer break (hallelujah!).
I will break down units of study by six weeks, but you are free to add or take away resources to make it fit your school schedule. Also, I never teach the exact same thing each year, so I will have many "options" to add to this series that you can use differently each year. If I find a short story that catches my attention, I add it to my unit. If I read an interesting book over the summer, such as "The Hunger Games", then I add that novel to my unit.
Being flexible is an important trait to have as an educator, and being brave enough to through out lesson plans that do not work also helps your career. No matter how much work and energy you put in to the creation of a unit, if the students are not benefiting from it (or if they are bored to tears), there's no use keeping in your curriculum.
I had a similiar experience with the novel "Star Girl" by Jerry Spinelli. The first year I taught it, my students hated it and dreaded having to read it each day. I thought perhaps it flopped because of my method of teaching, so I tried a different approach the next year and had the exact same results. It was the content that they hated, so I took it out of my yearly plans, even though there is no telling how many hours of hard work I had put in to the lesson plans for that book!